Australian Poetry Slam competition at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor

HAWKESBURY writers are invited to speak, scream, howl, whisper, or even sing their words at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor on Saturday, August 18, as part of Australian Poetry Slam 2018.

Writers are given a microphone, a live audience and just two minutes to impress the judges with their original poetry, hip hop, stories … whatever they do with words. The judges will be randomly chosen from the crowd.

ON THE MIC: Australian Poetry Slam Champion, and host of the Hawkesbury Slam, Zohab Zee Khan. Picture: Supplied

ON THE MIC: Australian Poetry Slam Champion, and host of the Hawkesbury Slam, Zohab Zee Khan. Picture: Supplied

Three writers from the Hawkesbury Poetry Slam will be chosen to perform at the Western Sydney Final, from which two will then go on to the NSW State Final in Sydney in mid-October. Two finalists from each state and territory will then head to the Australian Poetry Slam National Final the following day.

The ultimate prize is an international tour worth $10,000 in 2019, when the Australian Poetry Slam Champion performs at Byron Writers’ Festival, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Singapore Writers Festival and Hong Kong International Literary Festival. They will also be published by Pitt Street Poetry, and receive a residency in the NSW Southern Highlands with Bundanon Trust.

Regardless of age, location, cultural background or education, everyone’s welcome to tell their story.

To give everyone the chance to fine tune their ideas and work up their act, the Slam provides a workshop before the event, led by Zohab Zee Khan, Australian Poetry Slam Champion in 2014 and a finalist in the International Poetry Slam in Madrid in 2017.

It is expected that more than 1000 spoken word artists will perform in over 50 heats, for an audience of over 20,000 across the Asia-Pacific, from small towns to major cities, libraries to street parties, Sydney to Singapore, Wellington to Windsor. Anyone can participate – in 2017 the winner was a twelve year old from Coffs Harbour. 

Hawkesbury Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett said she’d love to think that the next Australian Poetry Slam Champion could be a Hawkesbury resident.

“I’m sure our spoken wordsmiths are as good as anyone out there, and this is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate and experience a fantastic new kind of poetry … one that combines writing skills with being willing to stand up and have a go, cheered on by friends and family,” she said.

If you’re ready to ‘ignite the mic’ yourself, or a keen punter happy to cheer the others on (you may even get to become a random judge), just turn up - there’s no need to book. 

The preparatory workshop will be held from 3-5pm, and the Slam itself kicks off at 6pm.

For more information call Gallery Director Kath von Witt on 4560 4440 or email kvonwitt@hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au.

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